Folktales of the American Indians

As in many cultures, tricksters, lost loves, brave warriors, and pourquoi or "why?" stories make up the fabric of Native American storytelling traditions. To retell these stories for an audience today connects these old ways to the modern world so that their beauty and wisdom need not be forgotten. Click on the regional listing at the bottom of the book's description to get more story choices that fall within the same geographic setting (Arctic, Woodlands, Northwest Coast, Plains, or Southwest).

The Legend of the Bluebonnet: An Old Tale of Texas

By Tomie DePaola

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A retelling of the Comanche Indian legend of how a little girl's sacrifice brought the flower called bluebonnet to Texas.

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The Girl Who Married a Ghost and Other Tales from the North American Indian

By John Bierhorst

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Stories from the Northwest Coast, California, the Plains, the North Woods, the Southwest, and Alaska.

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The Flute Player: An Apache Folktale

By Michael Lacapa

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When a young man goes away on his first hunt, his sweetheart is sure he has forgotten her and dies of a broken heart. He returns to show his love for her the only way he can.

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The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story

By Joseph Bruchac

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A quarrel between the first man and the first woman is settled when the Sun causes strawberries to grow out of the earth.

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The Dancing Fox: Arctic Folktales

By John Bierhorst (Editor)

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Eighteen Inuit folktales from an ancient oral tradition filled with magic and animals who can become people.
Includes notes on the Inuit culture.

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The Boy Who Lived with the Bears and Other Iroquois Stories

By Joseph Bruchac

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A collection of traditional Iroquois tales in which animals learn about the importance of caring and responsibility and the dangers of selfishness and pride.

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The Boy Who Found the Light: Eskimo Folktales Retold and Illustrated with Wood Engravings

By Dale DeArmond

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Three stories tell of how a magic gift allows a young boy to bring light to the world and how a famous trickster got tricked himself. In the last story, a boy makes a journey to the edge of day, where earth and sky meet, and releases many animals, plants, and forces of nature into the world.
Includes a glossary of unfamiliar Inuit words.

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The Blind Boy and the Loon, and Other Eskimo Myths

By Ramona Maher

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Eleven Inuit legends and tales from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions include "How Thunder and Lightning Came to Be," "The Hardhearted Rich Man," and "The Sea Otter Girl."

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Sedna: An Eskimo Myth

By Beverly Brodsky

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Sedna, mother of all sea animals, tells the story of her life and helps the starving Inuit.

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Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest

By Gerald McDermott

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Raven, a Pacific Coast Indian trickster, sets out to find the sun.

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